Gamification is the process of applying game mechanics to non-game activities. ‘Game mechanics’ is a broad term that consists of popular practices like reward points, social features, and more. Gamification in sales is, therefore, nothing but the use of game mechanics to boost sales. It’s quite easy to discard the notion of using game mechanics for any purpose other than entertainment. However, it is important to note that there are several success stories recorded about the use of gamification in several different aspects like marketing, customer engagement, training, etc.
A recent gamification campaign in India can illustrate how it improves sales and increases user engagement. Google’s payments app Google Pay ran a sales campaign in India which had a terrific turnover and increased user engagement this Diwali. Why was it such a hit? The biggest factor catering to the success of the campaign was the culturally appropriate design. Google designed badges for Diwali, a big festival in India, and that made users go on a frenzy! Users had to collect these badges by using different features of the app, like paying a friend using Google pay, paying bills, inviting a friend, and more. The ultimate goal was to collect each of the available badges to collect a reward of INR 250. Though the reward didn’t seem much, it generated a storm on social media and boosted the popularity of Google Pay over its competitors for October 2019, positively impacting downloads, installs, and usage.
Why was it a hit? The smart, culturally attractive game-design and reward mechanics tapped well into the Indian consumer market. Diwali for Indians is a festival that revolves around the spirit of collective good and prosperity. The already “sharing is caring” centric core gamification design of the app was boosted by the added incentive of collecting a badge. People collected rewards by gifting money on the app to their loved ones. The game was hard to complete as Google created very few Rangoli badges. But with the new social media generation of India, people did not want to feel left out, popularly termed as FOMO (Fear of missing out). With the scarcity of the final reward, users tried everything within the deadline to collect all 5 badges and complete the game. Users flooded Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with posts to trade their excess Rangoli badges (if any) for a badge they didn’t own. It created emergent gameplay where people bought badges off others.
One might wonder why all this furor. The ultimate reward was a chance to win INR 100,000 and, for most users, was the prospect of boasting on social media. This generated a feeling of superiority and banter that only resoundingly grew the popularity of the app. So much so that News channels, media houses and top newspapers in all languages of the country wrote articles about the harmony created by the app. Do you still feel gamification in sales is not productive?
A natural factor that contributes to the apprehension around Gamification is that it has been abused like any innovative solution. Modern-day marketing teams often don’t use creativity in their campaigns with gamification. Loosely terming “Asking a Question” on social media marketing campaigns as gamification is part of the problem. Gamification as a solution is hard, but if implemented correctly, then the experience generated can be revolutionary like with Google Pay. The key to the success of gamification in sales campaigns lies in identifying when and how to use it. One needs to be able to identify meaningful behavior patterns amongst its users that drive business objectives. If implemented well, gamification in sales will create a domino effect of positive benefits. The biggest winner will be the business having a visible tracking system for their success. There is a structure in place, multiple ways to meaningfully track accomplishments (scores, rewards) and elements that propel collaboration and participation (badges/achievements). With real-time modes of tracking now in place, a plan for incentives can be effectively designed. And in comparison to uni-dimensional, traditional spreadsheet methods, gamification in sales plans are dynamic and provide entertaining engagement.
Convinced on why gamification in sales is a winning strategy? Then what are you waiting for?
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